Miss Emily had a real problem dealing with life in a normal way, and there are plenty of examples in William Faulkner's short story "A Rose for Emily." In Part I, Emily refuses to pay her taxes, claiming that the former mayor, Colonel Sartoris, had permanently remitted her taxes. The colonel could not substantiate this claim, however, since he had been dead for 10 years. Miss Emily refused to discuss the matter, ordering the collection delegation out of her house.
In Part II, Emily's sanity first comes into serious question when she refuses to give up the body of her recently deceased father.
... She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body. Just as they were about to resort to law and force, she broke down, and they buried her father quickly.
We did not say she was crazy then.
Faulkner uses the first example to show Miss Emily's separation from reality as well as her extreme elitist attitude toward her family name. The second example foreshadows the second body that Emily conceals, and shows that her grip on sanity was slipping long before "the smell" occurred.